The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Centre, the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and three municipal corporations of Delhi on a plea seeking steps to tackle rising air pollution in the capital and NCR areas.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra issued the notices on a PIL filed by Advocate R K Kapoor. However, the apex court said it will not stop any other court from hearing cases related to pollution in Delhi.
“Any court seized of the matter should not stop hearing it,” the bench said, making it clear that the National Green Tribunal and Delhi High Court — which are already hearing petitions on the matter — can continue to hear them.
The petition wanted the Centre to provide more subsidy and schemes to the states to help them deal with the issue of stubble burning. It also sought steps to clean dust at construction sites — another contributor to air pollution — using vacuum cleaners or by sprinkling water. Kapoor also requested the court to direct the government to promote the use of solar energy and electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, another bench, headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, refused to lift the ban it had ordered on industrial usage of pet coke and furnace oil in Haryana, Punjab and UP. The court said its order was not restricted to districts falling in the NCR but to the entire state.
“It’s (the ban) not the only measure to prevent pollution. We need a series of measures. Don’t say that the ban has not been effective,” the bench told the counsel for industries, who wanted the court to lift the ban. The lawyer argued that pollution levels in Delhi had risen, notwithstanding the ban.
The bench also asked the court-appointed committee, EPCA, to suggest long-term measures to avoid an “emergency-like” situation in Delhi. “Why don’t you give steps to be taken to prevent the occurrence of such a situation?” the bench said. Lawyer Aparajita Singh, who was assisting the court, said authorities were refusing to follow EPCA directives.